Haight Street neighbors want parklet removed

| April 30, 2013
Parklet on Haight Street seems to be one of the first surplus parklets in S.F. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • Parklet on Haight Street seems to be one of the first surplus parklets in S.F.

The wildly popular mini open spaces called parklets are coveted by many businesses, but one on Haight Street is slated for removal.

The parklet in front of Martin Macks gastro pub was installed in 2011, but legal disputes and a change in ownership have left the open space in disrepair. Neighbors want it gone, and that process for removal could begin as soon as next month.

"I was very wary of it even when it went in," said Ted Loewenberg, president of the Haight Ashbury Improvement Association. "When it was constructed it was not well received in terms of appearance. It’s not a very inspired design and it’s kind of ugly."

The parklet has brick planters atop a wooden deck with wooden slats to allow for hanging plants. But without much care, the bricks are crumbling and there’s garbage, human waste and drainage issues.

A hearing to revoke the permit is scheduled for next month, according to Public Works Department spokeswoman Rachel Gordon.

In addition to the neighborhood complaints, the parklet has been flagged for removal because it does not represent what a parklet is meant to be: a community gathering space.

"At this point the parklet is in disrepair and is a real eyesore," Gordon said. "It has to be removed or fixed up. We’re moving toward removal. If the new owner wants to come with a new idea, we’ll work with them."

How the parklet fell into disrepair is unclear, but some think the original owners of the bar were using it as an extension of the business, which is not in compliance with parklet rules. The first notice of violation was issued in July 2012, and it remains open.

Paul Chasan of the Planning Department said parklets are "a place you could go and eat a sandwich even if you didn’t buy it from the restaurant that’s hosting the parklet."

Chasan said that since parklets are a new concept, guidelines and regulations remain in flux. Figuring out how to remove parklets and who is responsible – the applicant or the property owner – is next on the list of issues to solve.

There are an estimated 37 parklets citywide. Another 12 are in the planning or permitting pipeline, and 54 applications have recently been submitted. Applicants are responsible for upkeep and maintenance.

Neither the owners of the property currently occupied by Martin Macks nor operators of the previous business could be reached for comment.

Though neighbors want the parklet removed, they are not against the concept as long as it adds to the neighborhood, Loewenberg said. The space outside the nearby Haight Street Market is one example of a thriving parklet. Additionally, the Ice Cream Bar on Cole Street is hoping to install a parklet, which Lowenberg said his association supports.

 

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

Tags